-Haven't had much to say regarding who is guilty or innocent in the shooting of Michael Brown. I'm not going to either until whatever evidence is available is presented in a complete and transparent way. What we're getting now is mostly rumor and speculation that lets the pundits pundit and the talking heads talk. If you read or listen carefully though, most of it is one side or the other playing up the evidence that suits their case. Not really a surprise, but it unfortunately sets up various false narratives that will be turned to stone by the time the real evidence is presented. I'm not going to waste my time.
“To be honest, if they don’t come and restore these neighborhoods for these people, like when you gotta go travel miles to Walmart and to get gas and stuff like that, it should be right here. If they don’t restore this community for people who stay here it’s gonna be hell to pay…"
So if somebody doesn't come in and rebuild the gas station that was torched and looted, you'll what? Burn some more businesses down? That sounds inspiring to me. Not.
-I think I'll buy a Whopper today(and some onion rings). I'm tired of the whining about companies taking advantage of completely legal tax reduction strategies, the latest being Burger King. How many of the whiners voluntarily paid more taxes than they had to last year? Not that companies moving their headquarters out of the country isn't a problem, but the solution is to bring our tax rate in line with the rest of the world. And clean up the tax code with its mess of loopholes and credits at the same time. That would require real leadership from our political elites when all they are really capable of is posturing and whining.
-Looking forward to heading up north this week. Going to get out on the big water for the first time in awhile.
-Got into it a little the other day with someone who insists that the only job creators out there are consumers, who create jobs by their demand. Demand for their product(s) or service(s) is an important condition for the success of most companies, but demand does not satisfy itself. Someone has to create the supply, generally by building a company, hiring workers, buying supplies, etc. However, I think he was too invested in the "You didn't build that" narrative to give an inch. In his mind, if the consumers are the real job creators then the capitalists aren't really entitled to their evil profits, so we can take them. In the real world, that, of course, mean less investors, less goods, less jobs, and more poverty. I get the sinking feeling though, that more and more people are buying into the fantasy.
Anyone looking for a spaghetti meat sauce that is gluten/msg free, here's one variation I made this past weekend.
2 to 2.5 lbs of 80 to 85% ground beef.
1 small or 1/2 of a large green pepper.
1 medium white onion.
3 to 4 ounces of baby bella(or white) mushrooms.
2 tablespoons of butter.
1 6 oz can of Hunt's tomato paste.
1 29 oz can of Hunt's tomato sauce.
3 cloves of garlic(diced or from a garlic press). or 3/4 tsp of garlic powder.
2 tsp Italian seasoning.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Small chop the green pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Over low-medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized frying or saute pan. When the butter is melted, mix in the pepper, onion, and mushroom and cover, stirring every few minutes for the next half hour. The goal is to soften the vegetables, not brown them.
After the veggies have lightly sauteed for half an hour, brown the ground beef in a separate 5-qt. sauce pan over medium heat, stirring frequently and breaking it up into fine pieces. When the ground beef is just browned, but not totally cooked, drain 2/3 to 3/4 of the fat and juices and resume browning. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and the garlic and continue browning the ground beef by stirring frequently for several minutes until fully cooked. If you do want the veggies slightly caramelized, turn the heat up on them now(but watch them closely).
Add the tomato sauce, paste, and sugar to the ground beef and stir in completely. Bring that sauce back to a strong simmer and then toss in the pepper/onion/mushroom mix, including all the butter/juices, and mix well.
Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Stir occasionally for the next hour, remixing any moisture that collects on the lid. Remove from heat for about five minutes before serving over spaghetti. Barilla has a good gluten free spaghetti that I've used in the past.
It also makes a good sloppy joe mix if cooked down to that consistency and topped with some cheese, or mixed 50-50 with rice it makes what my mom called Spanish rice when I was a kid.
Minnehaha Creek begins at the Gray's Bay dam on Lake Minnetonka and winds its way 22 miles east to the Mississippi. It passes through some very fine parts of the the Twin Cities along the way, and when the water levels are right it can be a very enjoyable raft or canoe trip.
When my parents first moved back to Minneapolis in 1968 they bought a house only two blocks from Minnehaha Park and the falls there. My friends and I(and siblings) spent many summer days roaming the park and following the creek down to the river. Even though we were only 7 or 8 at the time there was no adult supervision. We all knew about when we should be home and we all looked out for each other. The four years we lived in that house and played in the park, not one of us was accosted by a stranger or had to be rescued. Sure, there were some skinned knees and our share of bumps and bruises, but that just came with the territory of being a kid.
After a two year stint in a suburb outside of Atlanta, my parents moved us all back to south Minneapolis and the creek again, only this time about 4 miles west of the first house. Minnehaha Park was too far away to visit every day, but the bike and foot paths along the creek and through various woods from Lake Nokomis to Lake Harriet made up for that.
We went back to Minnehaha Park again when family came into town the first week of August. Remember how Minnehaha Falls looked back in July?(click on any pic to enlarge)
Here's what it looked like four weeks later:
Not quite the same angle, but in July there was 300cf/s going over the dam at Gray's Bay and in August that was down to a still healthy 200cf/s. It shows.
That's my nephew Liam in the middle and one of his first casts as a fisherman. That's my sister Nancy supervising on the left after she rigged Liam up with a leech and a bobber. That's Dad on the right, keeping an eye on his own setup.
We only got two keeper crappies that day, but we caught lots of smaller fish and everyone had fun. We did better the next week.
A teenager is fatally shot by a police officer; the police are accused of being bloodthirsty, trigger-happy murderers; riots erupt. This, we are led to believe, is the way of things in America.
It is also a terrible calumny; cops are not murderers. No officer goes out in the field wishing to shoot anyone, armed or unarmed. And while they’re unlikely to defend it quite as loudly during a time of national angst like this one, people who work in law enforcement know they are legally vested with the authority to detain suspects — an authority that must sometimes be enforced. Regardless of what happened with Mike Brown, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is not the cops, but the people they stop, who can prevent detentions from turning into tragedies.
Brushing aside the fact that some cops, like in all professions, turn out to be murderers, the above is generally true. But then the writer, after a few reasonable points, goes downhill, resulting in this:
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Hmmm...let me think about that. You know, carefully consider it. And after carefully considering it, here's my response to the writer, an LAPD officer and "professor of homeland security":
Don't argue with you? Don't call you a name? Or what? I'm going to get "shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground"? Am I among the citizens you have sworn to protect and serve or am I a subject who must abjectly submit and obey your every command? Because here's the deal, I've never argued with a cop or called him/her a name, but that's out of respect for the job they have to do and the often difficult role they play in our society, not fear. If that chucklehead, or any other cop, thinks he's going to instead get my cooperation by instilling fear in me he's heading down a bad, bad, road for both of us.
There are lots of things I've been mulling over about police/citizen interactions in the wake of events in Ferguson, MO. I want to be fair to both the police and the communities they serve across the country. That editorial helps the police side of that not one bit.
Been busy with family stuff the last few days. All of my siblings made it into a town for a family reunion on my dad's side this past Sunday down in Lake City, MN. Most of that side of the family lives on farms or in small towns in SE Minnesota and we've stayed in contact, but not real close contact, especially with the kids and now grandkids of our cousins. If I understand it correctly, the latter would be our first cousins once and twice removed respectively. But correct me if I'm wrong.
The reunion went great, as have the other events and tourist stuff we did the last week. Two sisters, one nephew, and one BIL are leaving today. The other nephew and another sister leave Thursday. We should be able to get one more day of fishing in tomorrow before they head back east for work and college.
We went back to Lock and Dam #1 yesterday and the difference in the river compared to July is dramatic. I'll try to post some pics tonight.
Thus it was they journeyed homeward; Thus it was that Hiawatha To the lodge of old Nokomis Brought the moonlight, starlight, firelight, Brought the sunshine of his people, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Handsomest of all the women In the land of the Dacotahs, In the land of handsome women.
A second American infected with the potentially deadly Ebola virus arrived at Emory University Hospital on Tuesday from Africa, following the first patient last weekend. Both were greeted by a team of highly trained physicians and nurses, a specialized isolation unit, extensive media coverage, and a storm of public reaction. People responded viscerally on social media, fearing that we risked spreading Ebola to the United States.
Those fears are unfounded and reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it. Emory University Hospital has a unit created specifically for these types of highly infectious patients, and our staff is thoroughly trained in infection control procedures and protocols. But beyond that, the public alarm overlooks the foundational mission of the U.S. medical system. The purpose of any hospital is to care for the ill and advance knowledge about human health. At Emory, our education, research, dedication and focus on quality — essentially everything we do — is in preparation to handle these types of cases.
She has three basic points:
It is an opportunity to put their training in dealing with dangerous diseases into practice and they can "safely manage and contain it."
With the full resources of the hospital, university, and the CDC it may be an opportunity to develop new treatments.
It is an essential moral duty to bring these courageous health care workers back home for treatment.
All three are reasonable arguments to make, though I still have a slight queasy feeling about this, and not because my brother half-jokingly said "This is how all of the movies start" the other night. Call it a healthy respect for Murphy's Law combined with a lack of confidence in "experts" these days. However, I don't have any tangible counterarguments to make or evidence to show that the experts are wrong, so I reluctantly accept their recommendations.
”There’s no reason the nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations in the near term, in the decades ahead. There's simply no reason.”
Perhaps he misspoke, perhaps he's an imbecile. Given the long list of previous speaking gaffes I think it's the latter. And given the way so many prominent Democrats become shrieking harpies at the slightest verbal mistake by a Republican or conservative, I'm not inclined to cut him any slack just on general principles.
On a serious note, there are actually some simple reasons to be pessimistic for the future of African nations in the long term. First and foremost is the endemic corruption, often supported by Western aid to regimes who use it to buy power and control. Next comes the steady and destabilizing expansion of radical Islam. Third, the incredibly reckless destabilization of North Africa created by removing Gaddafi, the worst ill effects of which we are only just starting to see.
-It's time to start thinking about Fantasy Football again and defending my championship title from last year. This year I'm faced with the challenge of the #1 draft spot, which means my draft spots go 1, 20, 21, 40, 41...and so on. There are a lot of good players gone between those double picks. I think I can build a decent nucleus from those first five picks, the challenge is in the next five picks and finding the guys who are underrated or likely to have a breakout year.
I looked at my first mock draft yesterday and I also found a mock draft simulator that looks interesting. Playing around with both confirmed to me that I have a lot of work to do before we get together for the real draft in a month.
-Lots of family coming in town for a family reunion on my dad's side this Sunday. One nephew is in town already and the other will arrive with one sister and her husband tonight. Should be a fun week.
-Get ready for Russia's next assault on Ukraine. I can't believe that Putin will allow the rebel-held cities of Luhansk and Donetsk to be taken by the Ukrainian government and his army is once again building up on the border and conducting large exercises. I think this time he is going to use them. The party line will be that Russia's intervention will be a peacekeeping mission for the protection of the civilian populations in the region. Once his army is firmly established in the area, Putin will call for negotiations in hopes of either annexing the region like he did in Crimea or forcing Ukraine to settle the autonomy requests in favor of the rebels. A third option could be a long term "peacekeeping" occupation such as the ongoing one in South Ossetia/Abkhazia.
Last week the EU/US sanctions went from being essentially phony to the first real shot in an economic war. From here on things get dangerous and Russia is not without its own weapons in a tit for tat escalation. Putin can put some serious economic pressure on much of Europe and provoking that may be part of his plan if his real goal in all of this is to split the EU(and NATO) internally and away from the US, at least partially.
Who knows, but don't be surprised if things begin escalating quickly in the next week or two.
-For years and years the complaint has been that life in Gaza has been stifled by a lack of cement and other construction materials. It turns out that huge amounts of what they did receive or smuggle in were used for 32 tunnels into Israel instead. Tunnels to be used to infiltrate Israel and kidnap or kill Israelis. Apologists for Hamas are nothing but chumps.
-Looking for a new phone/tablet/laptop solution(s). All I really want from a phone is nationwide voice coverage. I don't text, so that's not important to me. I want something to help me sort pictures from my camera while traveling and I want to be able to surf when on the road and not have to depend on finding a wi-fi hotspot. I'm looking for functionality, not status items. Any opinions?
Two American aid workers, who were gravely ill after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, are expected to be flown to the United States for further treatment, relief groups said on Friday.
A plane equipped to transport Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol left Georgia on Thursday, according to Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse.
The plane can carry only one patient back at a time, and the organization said it did not know yet whether Brantly or Writebol would return to the United States first.
I know if I or a member of my family were in that situation I would want treatment in the US versus even the best possible facilities in Africa(as good as some are). But is that really the best thing to do for the rest of the country? For the expense of individually flying them here and admitting them into what I imagine are very expensive facilities, can't we provide all the care and comfort they need where they are?
"Experts" say the risks to the US health workers who will treat them and to the general public are "very, very low." They also say that if something went wrong there or if an airline passenger arrived in the US and became symptomatic(and thus infectious), our health system would be able to isolate the infected individuals quickly and stamp out an outbreak before it could get started.
Those statements strike me as true, or highly probable to end up true. But there's still an element of needlessly playing with fire here that bothers me. With a mortality rate at 60%, a relatively small outbreak could still mean dozens of deaths. The numbers may seem insignificant to the policymakers, but to the people who get caught up in it by chance they would be very significant indeed.
I also point out that while it's reasonable to put some faith in strict protocols and procedures, both Americans were following strict protocols and procedures themselves. It's not known at this point how they became infected and it could have happened outside of their work in isolation wards, nonetheless it is something that should invoke additional caution and humility.
At this point all we can do is trust that the CDC and other experts are much more competent than most in the public arena these days. And that they don't screw up somehow and inadvertently release the virus into the ecology, as unlikely as that may be. We are being reassured that the virus is fragile and there is basically no chance of being infected unless one comes into direct contact with an infected person's body secretions, but note this from the Public Health Agency of Canada:
SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days (23). Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4°C for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70°C (6, 20). Infectivity can be preserved by lyophilisation.
I'm trying to square the soothing tone of the CDC with the paragraph above and it's more difficult than I want it to be, to put it mildly.
“I’m going to go to the House floor and actually debate why we shouldn’t be voting for the first time in American history to sue the President of the United States for doing his job, and doing his job actually less often and at a rate that is lower than any other president since Grover Cleveland."
She probably was talking about executive orders, but her literal words about President "Tee-time, Fundraiser, McPetulant Pants" are ten times more accurate.